Do you know how your double glazing 'works'?

Do you know how your double glazing ‘works’?

We all know that double and triple glazing is specially designed to keep our homes warm by reducing heat loss and preventing draughts. By doing so, it limits the amount of time we need to spend with the central heating on, and enables us to lower our energy bills. Double-and triple-glazed windows are made up of two or three panes of glass, with a gas-filled cavity in between each pane. The glazing unit is sealed in order to prevent moisture from getting in and causing condensation (which makes the glass foggy and is hard to get rid of) and also to ensure the heat-retaining gases remain intact. The gas that is used depends on the rate of energy-efficiency that is required, and the price the homeowner wants to pay.

Glazing cavities can be filled with dehydrated air or inert gas

There are two main types of filler used in double and triple glazing: dehydrated air and inert gases (i.e. argon, xenon and krypton). Dehydrated air has a lower rate of thermal conduction than regular air, meaning that heat does not travel through it as easily (and therefore does not escape from the home). This same quality makes it ideal for sound insulation, giving it a lower acoustic conductivity. Glazing specialists agree that, while air-filled double glazing is more energy-efficient than single glazing, inert gases are generally more effective.

An inert gas is able to remain in its original form when under certain conditions, and will not undergo a chemical reaction. This makes it ideal for use in windows, where the temperature conditions can fluctuate fairly frequently. Inert gases are commonly used nowadays, in order to help glaziers comply with the Building Regulations that were introduced in April 2002. The regulations state that all replacement glazing must meet thermal performance standards to help the homeowner lower their energy costs and reduce their CO2 output.

The most common inert gases used in double and triple glazing are:

  • Argon: This colourless and odourless chemical is the most commonly used gas in windows, due to the fact that it is relatively cheap and denser than air.
  • Xenon: This gas is the densest of them all, and highly insulating. It is also more expensive than argon and air, meaning it is rarely used in domestic windows.
  • Krypton: This gas is denser than argon and air, but not as dense as xenon. It is an expensive option, and is arguably best used in smaller cavities where convection doesn’t occur so readily.

Maintaining gas-filled windows

As long as your window’s seal is in good condition, the gas won’t leak. If you do experience a leak, don’t worry: the gas is not harmful. You will notice the glass fogging up, and simply need to call a glazier to repair the seal.

Here at Hamilton Windows, our double- and triple-glazed windows are expertly designed to boost your Surrey home’s energy efficiency. Contact us today to find out more.